Sat, 26 Feb 2000

Weak law enforcement blamed for piracy

JAKARTA (JP): The government defended its poor record against copyright piracy on Friday, arguing that it was a reflection of weak law enforcement as a whole.

The director general for intellectual property rights A. Zen Umar Purba said curbing copyright infringements would be impossible if the justice system remained corrupt.

"Fighting copyright piracy is strictly about enforcement. A police raid on counterfeiters is only one step because after that the case has to be handed over to the prosecutors and then to the judges," Purba told The Jakarta Post.

When asked to elaborate further on what he meant, Purba merely replied, "You know what I mean."

"The United States government has put Indonesia on its priority watch list due to rampant copyright piracy here and there is nothing we can do about it as long as law enforcement here is still weak," he added.

The Indonesian Intellectual Property Society has called on the government to take tougher action in curbing copyright infringements in Indonesia or face possible retaliation in the near future.

It has said Indonesia is ranked fourth, after China, Hong Kong and India, on the priority watch list of copyright infringers.

There was also concern that the law itself may have to be reviewed as it was considered too light.

The law stipulates a maximum three-year jail sentence or Rp 300 million fine for copyright, patent, or intellectual property infringements.

Observers said, however, that the punishment is too light because professional counterfeiters are able to bribe law enforcers more than Rp 300 million to avoid legal actions.(byg)